Citroen e-SpaceTourer Review - Select Car Leasing
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Citroen e-SpaceTourer Review 2023

Introduction

Electric cars are becoming commonplace on the United Kingdom’s roads. Just about every automaker is getting in on the act. They have to! Take, for example, Vauxhall. Within the next few months, the successor to its Crossland SUV will be launched with an all-electric powertrain, meaning it will offer an electric version of every car in its range. But we aren’t hearing much about electric vans.

That is because, for commercial vehicles, the range they’d need to cover with a fully laden cargo bay isn't viable at the moment. But that’s beginning to change – and there are a handful of engineless vans out there. 

The reason we’re talking about vans is because that’s basically what the Citroen e-SpaceTourer is: a van with some seats instead of the cargo area. Based on the Citroen Dispatch, in passenger form, it's technically an MPV, but you could call it a minibus, too, seating up to nine people.

So, if you’ve got lots of kids, have many relatives you like taking on days out, or if you are lucky enough to have plenty of friends, the e-SpaceTourer could be the ‘car’ for you.

Select's rating score* - 3.2 / 5

At a Glance


Okay, so the Citroen e-SpaceTourer looks like a van. But, as vans go, it’s stylish. Its boxy shape is significantly softened by its rounded front end and curved edges, with the front looking invitingly athletic for a vehicle of such proportions. 

The horizontal lines of the grille blend into the Citroen chevrons, with classy headlights and a lower front end of blackened bodywork, giving the appearance of chiselled air intakes.

Around the side, indentations and bulges add to the sportiness created by body-coloured bumpers, with the grey cladding typically associated with traditional vans notably absent. The side windows have an executive feel, while around the back, a concave shape to the area surrounding the number plate compliments the sizeable rear window above it. There is no getting away from its roots as a van – but, as vans go, it’s about as desirable as they come.


Key Features

The Citroen e-SpaceTourer is available in two lengths – medium and XL. Both lengths are offered in two versions: Flair and Business – and it’s the latter one we’re interested in.

Flair is available with eight seats, while the Business model can be specified with eight or nine seats, offering more stylish options to suit professional needs, such as posh taxis and hotel shuttles. 

The Business edition is provided in three similarly named trims. Entry-level Business Edition comes with 16-inch steel wheels, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and DAB radio. It also vaunts four speakers, air conditioning, a heated driver’s seat and cloth upholstery, plus an electric handbrake and electric front windows.

Mid-range Business trim gets 17-inch steel wheels, additional airbags, an acoustic windscreen and side windows, power-folding door mirrors and satin chrome interior door handles.

The flagship Business Lounge trim boasts 17-inch alloy wheels, additional soundproofing, dual-zone climate control and improved interior lighting. It has keyless entry and go, enhanced third-row seating arrangements, leather seat upholstery and tray tables, too. If that’s not enough, it also features window blinds, electrically-adjustable heated front seats with massage function and electric lumbar adjustment and an improved sound system.

Regardless of which trim you go for, there’s only one powertrain – a 136PS electric motor.


Range & Batteries

The motor is fed by a 50kWh battery, suitable for a range of 135 to 137 miles, depending on which trim you go for.

Admittedly, as electric vehicles go, these figures could be better and, as we mentioned earlier, they highlight why electric vans are few and far between. If you’re taking the family out for the day, you’d better hope the seaside isn’t all that far away. If it is, plan a for a good coffee stop.


Performance & Drive

You do get an instantaneous burst of power as soon as you put your foot down, but once that’s over and done with, it takes its time to get up to speed. 

Nought to 62mph takes 13.1 seconds, which isn't bad when you consider it's based on a van. But the whole point of a vehicle like this is that a seven-seater isn't big enough, so when you factor in a full load of nine occupants (not to mention their luggage) one can only imagine how relaxed the pace might be.

Top speed is 81mph. Eco mode makes things even more gentle, as it reins in the acceleration to save the battery, dropping the power to around 80PS. There is a Normal mode, too, which uses about 110PS, while Power mode engages the full 136PS.

Around town at low speeds, it feels okay, but take it onto a motorway, and it feels a tad out of place.

The only way to get performance out of it is to hammer the accelerator pedal, but then you'll be harming your range. If you do, you'll be tackling corners at speed, which brings about another issue: suboptimal handling. Granted, a vehicle like this isn't built for performance or handling, but it lags behind rivals.

The steering could be more responsive. A 90-degree wheel turn would suffice in a family hatchback, but we needed to turn the wheel more to get around the same bend, even without going incredibly quickly.

When it comes to comfort, some rivals can beat it in this department, too.

We'd recommend using the regenerative braking to maximum effect, given the limited range, as this puts some charge back into the batteries under deceleration.

On the plus side, the road noise isn’t bad, especially in the Business Lounge edition, which has two lots of additional soundproofing over the entry-level model.


Charging

The e-SpaceTourer supports fast charging at a rate of 100kW. 

That means a 0-80% charge takes around half an hour at maximum speed, which is helpful given you'll likely need to factor in a charging stop on a longer journey. 

Using a home 7.4kW wallbox, you’ll get a 0-100% top-up in around seven-and-a-half hours.


Running Costs

The emissions question can be answered immediately: there aren’t any. That’s one of the best things about owning an electric car – the green credentials mean you’re not harming the environment every time you push the accelerator.

This also means it’s a tempting lease if you’re using it as a company motor, though bear in mind that’s not the same as using something for business use if you’re going to be running a limousine service. 

Road tax is currently free, but the Government has said it plans to start charging electric car users from 2025. In terms of reliability, contrary to what you might think, Citroen does pretty well nowadays. While it's still early days for its electric cars, indications show that they will only improve Citroen's reputation.


Interior & Technology

The problem with converting vans to MPVs is that only a modest effort is made to stop the interior from looking like a van. That is a fair assessment of the Citroen e-SpaceTourer, which looks nice and less utilitarian than your average commercial vehicle, but still gives the game away in plenty of places.

The steering wheel looks nice and bold, while flashes of brushed aluminium trim divide up the dashboard and the surround for the infotainment system. But the hard plastics dominate the cabin, and while it makes a decent claim to look like a car's interior, it does feel cheap in places.

A seven-inch infotainment screen is small by today's standards, and, as a touchscreen, it's slow to respond to prods – and we've used many systems that are better.

One plus is that you can control it using the dials on the steering wheel, while the shortcut buttons on either side of the screen add some convenience.

What’s more, the air conditioning controls are retained as physical buttons beneath the screen. This is a relief, as some manufacturers think it’s a good idea to bury the temperature selections into the touchscreen, making them fiddly to operate on the move.

The Business Edition trim includes SatNav and voice control, which makes things even easier, but these are optional extras on the other grades.


Space & Practicality

The driving position in the e-SpaceTourer is very high up, meaning you can laud it over other motorists. 

Sitting high up gives you a good view, too, and the windscreen pillars have been kept as thin as possible, giving you optimal visibility. Inevitably, being a long vehicle, the e-SpaceTourer’s rear isn’t easy to see out of, despite the large back window. However, at least rear parking sensors are included on all trims as standard.

A rear-view camera makes it even easier, but that’s an optional extra.

Another extra is front parking sensors – and these could come in handy as, despite the high driving position, you can’t see the edge of the bonnet from the driver’s seat.

Finding a comfortable driving position is simple enough, helped by the electric adjustment in the seat in the top-of-the-range Business Lounge edition.

Each of the other seats can individually slide forwards and backwards, too, which is helpful if you've got someone exceptionally tall.

That said, there's unlikely to be a problem with space even without the seat adjustment.

There's lots of space up front, and even if you opt for the nine-seater version (which has space for two passengers in the front, as opposed to one in the eight-seater variant), both will find enough headroom and legroom.

The shoulder room isn't an issue, either. The second and third rows have lots of space, too, so you can pack the e-SpaceTourer full of nine adults without worrying about people banging elbows or kneeing others in the back.

That is a big plus point of the e-SpaceTourer, with very few vehicles capable of accommodating adults in all its seats without some sort of compromise.

The rear doors slide, too, which is typical for vehicles of this type but very useful when you consider you'll be using standard-sized parking spaces in what's a wide vehicle.

One disappointing thing is that pockets on the back of each chair are only available as standard on the Business Lounge version. They’re not even available on the other trims as an optional extra.

Thankfully, there are plenty of storage spaces elsewhere, including large door bins and several cubbies in the front, most of them in the dashboard.

Boot capacity as standard is 700 litres, expanding to 2,300 litres with the third row of chairs folded.

You can also fold the second row to increase this further to a cavernous 4,200 litres.


Safety

The e-version has yet to be crash-tested, but the fossil-fuelled Citroen SpaceTourer was put through its paces by Euro NCAP in 2015.

That rating will expire soon – and the testing criteria have become more stringent since then. But the vehicle earned a five-star rating, scoring 87% for adults, 91% for children and 78% for safety assists.

It likely would score less highly if retested today due to the revised criteria, but those are remarkable scores, nonetheless.

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, driver attention alert system, cruise control and speed limiter, hill start assist and tyre pressure sensors.

Lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, adaptive cruise control, smartbeam assistance, front parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring are all available. These are part of an optional extra safety pack on the top two trims.


Options

In addition to the above safety features, there are various add-ons you can specify. 

Entry-level models don’t include the Visibility Pack, which adds automatic headlights and wipers, front fog lights and power-folding door mirrors. So, this can be added if you’ve chosen the Business Edition trim.

Dual-zone climate control can also be added, which includes an air conditioning control panel in the rear – this is included as standard on the top trim.

There is also an 11kW onboard charger, while you can replace the three seats in the second row with two larger VIP leather armchairs, which can be installed and removed without tools.

You can add SatNav to the bottom two trims, too, which also brings voice control and a rear-view camera. There is also a range of exterior features, including a tow bar and, on the top trim, a panoramic glass roof.


Rival Cars

There are few alternatives to the Citroen e-SpaceTourer – and any would-be rivals don’t all accommodate nine people. 

The Vauxhall Vivaro-e Life is the same vehicle, so it’s worth comparing equipment levels and prices.

There is also the Citroen e-Berlingo, which may suit those who don’t need such a massive vehicle, while the Volkswagen Touran (below) is for those who want a more traditional MPV.

If you do want a huge van-like MPV with all the bells, whistles and luxuries, then consider the Mercedes-Benz EQV.


Verdict & Next Steps

Overall, the Citroen e-SpaceTourer is worth considering if traditional seven-seaters aren't big enough.

If a seven-seater is big enough for your leasing needs, it’s slightly trickier to see why you need the Citroen.

A traditional MPV may be a safer bet for some lease customers, as they’ll be more comfortable and have nicer interiors, too – and likely better infotainment systems.

However, in terms of practicality, nothing beats it on the car leasing market!

The seating arrangements are seemingly infinitely flexible. It accommodates everyone who sets foot in it, and if you fold down the back row of seats, you end up with a boot that beats just about anything else on the market.

It charges quickly, too, if you can find a 100kW charger (and they're becoming more commonplace). 


Where to next?

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**Score based on Select’s unique meta score analysis, taking into account the UK’s top leading independent car website reviews of the Citroen e-SpaceTourer.

**Correct as of 08/04/2024. Based on 9 months initial payment, 5,000 miles annually, over a 48 month lease. Initial payment equivalent to 9 monthly payments, or £4,677.39 (Plus admin fee) Ts and Cs apply. Credit is subject to status.

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